And the world keeps on turning

Where have we been?

It’s been longer than I had hoped since my last post.  Good thing I didn’t say I’d be posting every day for my 11 days series, because I’m seriously behind!  We’ve had what is starting to feel like the “usual” drama around here.  Seriously, it’s truly comical at this point.  I tried writing a long, drawn out post about everything that’s happened since the beginning of January (has it really been two and a half weeks?!) and there’s just no way I can write it all out without it being really long and really boring!  So here, in list form and in no particular order, is a summary of life since the month began…

  • Evie got roseola
  • Evie got the flu (at the same time as roseola)
  • Evie got a yeast infection (also at the same time as the flu and roseola)
  • Kevin got the flu
  • Jude got the flu and maybe roseola
  • I got the flu, but not as bad as everyone else, and good thing, because I still had to take care of everyone else!
  • My brother and his family came for a visit for a week
  • I got a flat tire in my minivan
  • My parent’s house got broken into and burgrlarized
  • Jude potty trained (woot woot!)
  • Evie started standing on her own
  • Kevin started radiation on the 9th
  • My sister came and helped me clean my house, for which I am eternally grateful
  • My mom came and took care of me and the kids when I was finally too sick to take care of everyone


Kevin did start radiation last Monday, so that’s the biggest thing going on “cancer” related.  His first appointment was at 1:30PM on Monday the 9th, so I was able to go with him.  A huge thank you again to my amazing parents who have helped out so much so that we can make as many of these appointments together as possible.  It is always hard for me when we go over to the Winship Cancer Center.  It’s always a reminder that this cancer is real, not just “pretend” cancer, which is how it feels so much of the time.  Kevin’s not visibly sick (well other than the current flu situation, that is).  He never has been sick from this cancer, so these visits are always cold, hard reminders of what cancer is capable of.  You can judge it by the tools used to fight it.  One doesn’t spend $7,000 on a PET scan unless it’s serious.  Or on gigantic radiation machines.  Anyway, on Monday we headed down together to Winship and went through the now familiar tunnel to radiation.

They happened to be about an hour behind that day, so we had a bit of a wait, and again I was so glad to be with him.  We met many people in the waiting room and heard several of their stories.  One woman and her husband had over an hour drive each way, and she was on twice a day radiation therapy.  Another was a young girl, maybe 16 or 17 who was on her last day of radiation.  Another was a woman with her adult son.  She was fighting a recurrence of breast cancer which had settled in her bones.  Her son was starting school at GA Tech in the fall studying nuclear engineering.  He wants to do radiation cancer research because of what his mom has gone through.  To say the experience was overwhelming is such an understatement.  What do you say to someone who has cancer?  What do you say when someone tells you this is their THIRD round of radiation.  All so strange and awkward and surreal, and yet somehow it HAS become the new normal all at the same time.

Anyway, I got to go in and see the radiation machine that would be treating Kevin for the next six and a half weeks, and let’s just say I’m pretty sure we’ll be meeting our deductible again this year.  Man, that stuff puts the x-ray machine in your dentist’s office to shame.  It’s like the dental x-ray machine’s gigantic pro-linebacker brother who can kick a*s and take names, all while writing a doctoral dissertation on computer science.  And seeing it immediately made me so grateful again that we have access to such amazing medical care.  The doctors, the equipment, every experience we’ve had at Emory.  I am SO grateful and know that there are so many who do not have these options.  We do NOT take it for granted.

Our New Normal

After Kevin’s first treatment, he has been going in every morning at 6:15 so that he won’t have to miss any work.  It’s been hard for him because he’s not a morning person and of course it’s exhausting to add one more thing to an already long day. It’s been hard for me because I haven’t been able to go with him, so I don’t feel as connected to what he’s going through as I had been (up to this point, I’d been able to go to every appointment with him).  Please pray for us as we struggle through this time.  Having radiation treatment every weekday is tough enough.  Getting hit with the flu running through the whole house has brought us nearly to our breaking point.  But we are all on the upswing now (I hope) and so we pray that will be all the drama for a little while.  Would love to just have a little bit of time where things are a little calm.  Is that too much to ask?

Thank You

I have an ever growing list of people to write thank you cards to, and the way things are going these days, who knows if I’ll ever get them out.  I just want to at least begin by saying thank you here to all the family and friends who are surrounding us with prayer, for those of you who have sent us verses and quotes of encouragement and inspiration, for the meals that you have dropped by (and even sent from the other side of the country… how amazing is that?!), gift cards, and more.  Thank you.  Your help means more than you know.

11 Days of Gratitude Day 2 – Meet the Parents

11 Days of Gratitude for 2011

Day 2

The second thing that 2011 brought me was the second half of our 8 month stay with my mom and dad.  When we moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta to be closer to family, we moved entirely on faith, with no job for Kevin and no place to stay.  Luckily, my parents have a couple spare bedrooms.  We lived with my mom and dad from September 1, 2010 to the middle of April, 2011.

It took us over a year of looking before we found and moved into our permanent house, and by the end of 2010, I was desperate for us to be in our own place.  Not that things had been bad at my parents, but simply because I was determined to be settled in before Evie made her appearance.  We had been very close to getting a move-in ready house and according to “my plans”, we would have been all moved and settled in by the time we brought our little girl home from the hospital.  Once again, God had gone before us and knew exactly what we would need for the first several months of 2011… my parents.

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If you read yesterday’s post, you remember that my darling, beautiful daughter cried a lot.  And when I say cried a LOT, I am not exaggerating.  I remember at some point looking up the “criteria” for colic and it said at least three hours of crying a day, for at least three days a week, for at least three weeks.  We had met and surpassed that goal exponentially.  To say I was exhausted was the understatement of the century.  Emotionally, physically, spiritually even, as my heart broke for this little girl who couldn’t seem to find peace and my body cried out for rest.  But my own mom, she was there.

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Having two children 18 months apart had seemed like a good idea at the time, but during nearly six months of colic, there was absolutely no way I would have survived caring for both of them without my parents.  After every sleepless night, my mom would get up and change, feed, and play with Jude.  My dad took care of dinners, my mom took care of laundry.  While I took care of a colicky baby, my parents took care of us.

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For all the help my parents gave me from January to April, I am eternally thankful.  But it wouldn’t be the whole story if I just talked about how grateful I was for built-in nannies.

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Those 8 months we spent with you, Mom and Dad, were such an amazing time of building a foundation for our new life here.

I treasure the many days Jude spent working in the garden with you Mom.


And the trips Jude took to the park and to swim lessons with you Dad.  I treasure the bond that was sealed between you two and Jude during our 8 months living with you.

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When we moved out, I remember feeling anxious, as I’d actually had very little time where I’d been alone with both of my children… How odd is that?  But you, my parents, had been there for me when I needed you most.  I can only imagine the pit of depression I would have fallen into had I been all by myself trying to survive with both of my 2 babies under 2.

When we moved into a rental house near Kevin’s job, you both made the hour drive many times to help get us settled in, for you Dad to fix things in the house, and again, Mom, you came and did my laundry.

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This year has been one of so many transitions, cross-country moves, new jobs, new babies, new homes, and even new cancer.  Through it all, my parents have been there.

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Kevin had his first surgery five days after we moved into our permanent home.  My mom had knee surgery the day before his surgery.  With all of that going on, my parents still found time to prioritize having dad come out and help with the million and one things that need a “handy” man around in a new house.  Things that Kevin wouldn’t have been so great at even if he wasn’t recovering from surgery (he’s a tech guy, not a handy hubby), but certainly wasn’t able to handle since he was.

Dad, you are amazing.  I am so grateful that 2011 gave us plenty of time with you.

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I am grateful for shelving you’ve measured and built with your little helper at your side.

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I am grateful for pure, unadulterated love you have for your grandchildren.


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I am grateful for your teacher’s heart, that you love to share with and encourage your grandchildren.


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I am grateful for your joy that you share with us all, and most of all that we now live one hour away, instead of a day’s flight.


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Mom, you are my angel.  A quiet source of strength and peace in the little things.

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I loved that 2011 saw you and Jude in the garden.

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That it saw you and Evie cuddling  on the back deck.

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That it held lunch dates with you at Ria’s Bluebird and mani-pedis in Edgewood.

I am so grateful for your prayers and your spirit as you lift us up and encourage us during the scariest time in our lives.

So the second thing that I am grateful for in 2011 is you.  Thank you for being there.  I love you.

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!

This is the first post in the series 11 days of gratitude for 2011.  We thought we’d start with the best.  The first thing I am grateful for in 2011 is Evelyn Lila Hill, born January 1, 2011.

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Dear Evie,

Wow, it has been one heckuva year, and you started it off for us with a bang.  You came into the world just after 8AM on January 1st, giving you a super cool birthday of 1-1-11.  You were two weeks early, and had a little trouble breathing in the beginning, so in true, “pay attention to me” style, we endured a 5 day NICU stay for you.

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You were stabilized after just a few hours, but anyone who’s ever had a child in the NICU, even for a small reason, knows that it was like a prison break getting you out.  And it was hell sitting there watching you in the NICU ward, not being able to hold or nurse you.  The worst part was when it was time for me to leave the hospital, but they weren’t ready for you to come home.

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It broke our heart to leave you there, but I will admit that as second time parents, we really just slept as much as we could between visiting you at the hospital, knowing what we were in for when we got you home.  And you didn’t disappoint.  You pretty much cried your way through the first six months of life… you and me both, my dear.

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We both worked our way through thrush (three times), reflux, and colic.  Sometimes I had to just put you down and walk away.  And my heart broke.  Your father would just hold you as you screamed and screamed.  And we wanted to fix it, but we didn’t know how.

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The first day you actually smiled for us, I remember I cried.  It had been so. long. of screaming.  and screaming.  And to see you happy, smiling, even for just a moment, was such a milestone for us.

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Still, most of your life was spent crying.

But at about six months, a switch just flipped, and your nickname permanently changed from “Her Screaming Screams-A-Lot Who Screams All The Time and Won’t Shut Up With the Screaming” to “Smilin’ E, My Happy, Happy Girl”.  Seriously, I’ve never seen a little girl who just seems so happy to be alive.  We will just forget about those first six months and never speak of them again.

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You are a photographer’s dream… a beautiful little girl who literally lights up and flashes me the biggest grins the moment you see that camera come out.  There’s no cajoling a smile out of you… it’s just right there.

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But you’re not just a camera hog.  Your heart is on your sleeve and you let everyone know it.  When I put you over my shoulder as I walk down the aisle at church to take communion, there are giggles throughout the congregation, and I realize it’s because you are flashing everyone the biggest smile a person’s ever seen.

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You are happy and you know it.

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You are curious and eager to explore.

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And you have the BEST wardrobe!  You are SO fun to dress, and I keep reminding myself, you’re not a doll!  Someday we will fight over what you will and will not be allowed out of the house wearing, but for now, I get to pick!

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You LOVE to eat!  I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I don’t have a picky eater on my hands (yet… fingers crossed).  It’s just the cutest thing to see you cram everything from tacos to cornbread in your cute chubby little cheeks.  If we don’t feed you fast enough, you flash us the “face of fury” and watch out because hell hath no fury like a hungry Evie!

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Those eyes.  Oh dear, your father is already cleaning his shotgun over those gorgeous eyes.  But they are so amazing.  You have your father’s eyes and I absolutely love them.

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But there is so much more to you than your gorgeous face and beautiful smile.  That look that says, “I am SO happy to see you today!  It has ABSOLUTELY made my day to see you”.  You give that look to the cashier at Trader Joe’s.  And I just love that about you too.

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I am so glad that you have the best big brother.  He loves you so much!

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He always wants to know where you are and make sure you have what you need.


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He asks, “One sister?” and then gives you one of whatever he’s snacking on.  We’ve had to pry many a chocking hazard out of your mouth that your generous brother has fed to you.


He loves to play with you too, and I’m sure one day very very soon you two will be fighting over toys, but for now he loves picking out your favorite things and bringing them to show you how they work.

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He is already so protective of you, telling everyone to “shhhh… sister sleeping” during your naptime.  And then he turns around and walks into your room to “check” on you, waking you up an hour early!  But it’s just because he cares, I promise!

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My heart aches when I see you two together, thinking about the future you have for one another.  You are just 18 months apart, and I know full well that you two will fight hard, but you will love each other just as hard too, and I see it already.  I can’t wait to watch your friendship unfold.

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You love your Papa and Nana, and the moment they show up, you make a beeline to them.  I love seeing that special bond between you and them.


And though you truly will smile for just about anybody, I know you have a special place in your heart for your Grammy Lila too.  Though we are miles away from her, you still get excited to see her on the video chat screen, and love to cuddle when she comes out to visit.

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This has been one of the most difficult and challenging and scary years of our lives.  It has taken our family down a path we never thought we’d be on.  At times, I could say I was eager to leave 2011 behind.  But you, my darling, dearest, my most amazing daughter.  You are our most precious gift of 2011.

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Thank you for being the most joyful, amazing, difficult, perfect part of our 2011.  You definitely started the year out right.